A Taste of NYC: Casa Mono
Chef Mario Batali has captured my palate again with the small Gramercy tapas joint, Casa Mono. (Batali’s Greenwich Village Italian restaurant Otto is currently my favorite pizza in all of NYC). After a trip to Spain earlier this year with my girlfriends, I’ve been all about tapas, and you don’t have to stray far in NYC to find some incredible Spanish tapas- many even better than those I had in Spain. Casa Mono is extremely intimate with seating for maybe 25 people, and it does not take reservations—prepare for a 2 hour wait on a Saturday night. Luckily my friend and I went on a Thursday rainy night around 7, and we only had to wait about 30 minutes. Bear in mind it was also raining :/.
The menu is not one for the unadventurous; items like sea urchin and sweetbreads are sandwiched between more typical iberico ham and patatas bravas. The interesting combinations of flavors is what really captured my attention as I stumbled with what to order—half of the items I had no idea what they were, but most sounded intriguing.
The Buffalo’s milk burrata with saffron oranges was the perfect combination of creamy, tangy and sweet. I definitely don’t think I’ve ever had burrata with orange, but it was a fantastic twist. The simple pan con tomate was done flawlessly, on a toasted baguette with juicy tomato preserves. I would say it was a bit pricey for what you get, but worth the splurge at least once. I could easily see myself returning to tapas places like Macando or Pata Negra, but Casa Mono might be a one-time dining experience for me; given the unconventional menu items and steeper prices, I can’t see it becoming a regular stop, but man was it worth it for a unique dining experience.
Casa Mono $$$$
52 Irving Place New York, NY 10003
What to Order:
Tapas: Pan con Tomate, Buffalo’s Milk Burrata with Saffron Oranges, Chorizo Meatballs, Casa Pareja Marinated Goat Cheese